Tag: FlashFriday

Flash Pulp 114 – The Chase: a Blackhall Tale, Part 3 of 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and fourteen.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present The Chase: a Blackhall Tale, Part 3 of 3
(Part 1Part 2Part 3)
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This episode is brought to you by the Bothersome Things podcast.

It’s like eating a unicorn for dinner.

Find them at BothersomeThings.com, or find them on iTunes.


Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, Blackhall participates in the end of the siege of the Elg Herra, and concludes much outstanding business.


Flash Pulp 114 – The Chase: a Blackhall Tale, Part 3 of 3

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May


Moments after the departure of Thomas’ former companion, panic began to march through the beds at the edges of the rolling longhouse, and down the center aisle which held the iron bowls of flame that maintained the Moose Lord’s heat and cooking fires.

Blackhall could not translate the flurry of speech which surrounded him, but he could see that all were focused upon the small closets at the rear of the wagon which acted as the home’s latrines, and he moved quickly to scrutinize what he suspected was Marco’s work.

The cramped space stunk of spilled gin and the involuntary releases of death.

Within, his sockets bulging and his legs thrust straight, was the corpse of Mathus, the Elg Herran shaman. A length of folded cloth remained at this throat, the obvious instrument of his murder.

His body had been stripped of ornamentation, the fled Frenchman having rifled anything that might be of value, monetarily or mystically.

For a moment Thomas shut his eyes, rubbing at their dry and rasping surface with forefinger and thumb. Fatigue was heavy upon his shoulders, and the imagined spectre of Mairi’s dead face drifted up to him from the inky depths of his closed lids.

As he let out a long breath and once again opened his vision, Mairi’s aspect was replaced by that of Disa, who stood before him.

“Was it my Marco?” she demanded.

Blackhall confirmed the worst with a short nod.

“He also removed all that might have some worth from our shared bunk – including the ring he gave me in safekeeping till our ceremony of binding.” She spoke in husky tones, and a flash of despair crossed her face.

Before she might weep, the pregnant woman strode away.

* * *

The attack came at noon, and Thomas, who’d relocated to the roof of the rear-most in the procession, finally had his first close-viewing of the Presters, as a raiding party detached itself from the larger force and moved against his perch.

They came with fire in hand, and their dogs baying in the lead. The alabaster-skinned men huddled close behind the hounds, with leather shields held high to stave off arrow attacks, and those without torches toted long, rough-hewn logs on their shoulders, to act as pikes against a bull moose rush.

Blackhall’s unsettling plan had formed soon after the discovery of Mathus’ body, but the knowledge he intended to implement had come straight from the old man’s tongue, and he knew the shaman would gladly give anything to bring an end to the threat against his people.

Still, Thomas had kept up a stream of apologies as he’d conducted his grisly work – all the better to keep his gorge from rising.

Now, as the approaching contingent moved to catch their wheeled target, he set aside Marco’s cast-off gin bottle, which harboured the old man’s sight organs, and raised his Baker rifle. His targeting was arbitrary, as any of the encroaching assailants would have happily seen him dead.

The crack and roll of gunpowder filled the air, and the lead of Blackhall’s foes fell, his torch landing amongst the trampled grasses, forgotten.

Construction of the larger charm had been considerably less disgusting, although the moving of the fire bowl had been sweatier work. Once in place, Thomas had wound leather about a wooden lid, to hold it over-top a concoction he’d mixed within the basin itself.

With Asmund’s assistance, he sent the vessel tumbling to the ground.

The volume of the cauldron had allowed him more room for reagents than during his original demonstration to the old man, and, as the cedar covering shattered upon the ground, a misty feline of immense proportion rose up, nearly overtaking the height of the wagon itself.

The dogs ceased their forward movement with animal terror in their eyes. They turned and began to flee.

At the cowardice of their beasts, the pallid-men also pivoted, and the retreating mob was soon moved to panic as a cluster of mounted defenders arrived in response to the prearranged signal of the birthing of the ghostly cat-daemon.

Blackhall knew the phantasm would not remain corporeal long, only until the last of his whisky supply ran into the earth, but it was ample for his intentions. In short moments the riders had retrieved the fallen Prester corpse, and returned with it to Thomas’ station.

It was easy enough to extract the necessary blood from the cadaver’s weeping wound, and, once again taking up the gory gin bottle, the frontiersman mixed in the last component necessary for his preparation.

A man came running from the assaulting line, shouting to rouse his people. Blackhall noted another beside him – a familiar, hunched form, which he suspected to be Hakon.

Thomas could only guess what fearful words the traitor must have used to press the desperate plan after realizing that this might be his final attempt to lay low those who had spurned him. Nor, for that matter, did he know what volume of riches the Presters must have originally promised the defector to turn against his people – Blackhall wondered if it was a sum greater than that which had purchased the loyalty of his former friend, the voyageur.

Whatever oaths the Prester King now pawned in his own tongue, it was enough to rally his host, who moved forward as a mighty wall, driving the flood of frightened hounds before them.

Although it still stood, the summoned whiskey spirit’s form had begun to blur, and, despite its aggressive stance, its clawed hands had begun to dissipate in the breeze.

Blackhall implemented his closing scheme, tipping the now sealed gin bottle on its side, upon the roof, and setting his boot heavily through the glass, crushing the blind orbs within.

The rushing line fell forward, suddenly asleep upon the unyielding plain.

The pack, spooked by the apparition before them, and the swooning of their masters behind them, scattered as if a cloud burst, draining into the dry turf.

This left an odd moment: all those of Prester blood having suddenly collapsed, and their mongrels absconded, there were but two figures still standing amid the dense heap of slumberers. One stood at the forefront of the failed rush, and one stood in the rear, having been happy to let those he considered savages carry out the grim work of fighting.

A single arrow arced over the fallen sleepers, it’s flight strong and true – Marco was allowed no scream as its shaft passed through his traitor’s throat.

Blackhall turned to see Disa standing alongside him, a bow in her hands.

She spoke.

“I will tell little Marcus, or Ida – whichever happens to arrive – that he died defending us from the Prester siege.”

With that, she moved to re-take the ladder, disappearing once again into the depths of the longhouse.

The lone figure of Hakon had only made five steps when the simultaneous wrath of the multitude of long-stymied archers was unleashed, cutting him down mid-stride.

Seconds later, the grunting efforts of the harnessed buffalo had pulled the triumphant Elg Herra beyond bow range.

Blackhall turned to Asmund.

“They’ll sleep two full days, more than time enough for the caravan to make an orderly escape.”

“We should turn about to cut their throats,” said the Earl’s son, “but I’ve no stomach for butchery. Considering their intentions, we have been kind to them.”

“The dogs will not stay long from their master’s guiding hands, and it will not be so kind a fate if they have been too long in feeding their animals,” replied Blackhall.

The frontiersman stooped for his rifle, eager to be once again on the path that would lead him to Mairi, and yearning for the distance which would put him well away from the politics of others.


Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 111 – Marked, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and eleven.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present Marked, Part 1 of 1
[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp111.mp3]Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)


This week’s episodes are brought to you by the the new Nutty Bites Podcast

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, we present a tale of priorities, misunderstandings, and apocalypse.


Flash Pulp 111 – Marked, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May


When Emmett Mender entered the world, his grandmother, on his father’s side, was the only one in the waiting room to raise an eyebrow at the oddly shaped birthmark on the back of his right hand. Carolyn, Emmett’s mother, had suffered a long and difficult pregnancy, and so it was to both parents that the blemish seemed nothing when measured against the joy of a successful delivery.

Still, as proud father Michael paraded the freshly scrubbed newborn through the room, there had been that gray and bushy eyebrow, askew.

Emmett’s childhood brought on the occasional misadventure: he broke an arm at ten, while climbing a neighbours apple tree to pilfer some of their harvest, and he’d once been caught with an unpaid-for chocolate bar in his sweater’s front pocket while departing a 7-Eleven. Otherwise, his youth was quiet, and the pleased parents found him an affectionate boy.

Despite the happy times, Michael began to notice an increasing change in his own Mother. She’d always been a sweet woman, but Grandmother Mender’s tongue had recently become sharp, and most especially in the presence of her grandchild. She made no secret that she considered his chocolate theft a life-long stain for him to prove against. Her church attendance tripled in fervor as well, although she seemed to have little patience for the mercy that was preached there.

Two weeks after his fourteenth birthday, Emmett refused to accompany his parents to their weekly Sunday dinner at his grandparents, stating that he had no interest in spending more time re-listening to the litany of complaints that always seemed to flow from his grandmother’s mouth as soon as he breached the door.

It was only three days later that Grandma Mender collapsed, convulsing; a day after that she was diagnosed as having a terminal cancer invading her nervous system.

Emmett attempted to visit while she was in the hospital, but he did not find any closure in the trips, as the old woman was deeply unconscious throughout. He decided instead to try reconciliation with his grandfather.

“I know things haven’t always been great, but -” was as far as he’d gotten before the old man had laid his leathery palm heavily across the boy’s face.

“This is your fault,” as well as the slap, was the only reply he would get.

No one could have known it at the time, but Grandfather Mender’s breakdown had begun the moment he’d watched his wife tumble sideways to the floor. She’d been interrupted mid-sentence, and the complaint she’d been voicing regarding her hooligan grandson would never be completed.

The disease worked quickly, and within a month the family was gathered about her grave, weeping and mourning – all but Emmett, who’d been told by his father that it might be best if he were to remain home.

While Carolyn and Michael often attempted to play-down his grandfather’s implications, the burden was a heavy one for the teenager to carry, and he began to ease his load with the assistance of the varied spirits he found in his parent’s liquor cabinet.

As soon as the casket was out of sight, Grandfather Mender had taken up his wife’s pious scheduling. He spent most waking hours in the Lord’s house, tending the fires he would then unleash at the continued Sunday meals. Not a week went by in which he did not berate son and daughter-in-law regarding the significance of the mark that adorned Emmett’s hand.

It was Michael’s encouragement that brought about the final meeting; he had no way of knowing how badly his father’s psyche had shattered. To work up his courage Emmett had secretly spent the morning sipping at a flask of vodka, and, by the time he arrived at his grandfather’s table, his tongue had worked itself into belligerence.

The old man was quick in accusing him of being a work of Lucifer, and the boy’s expletive-laden reply did little to prove otherwise.

“Lord, aid me!” the old man shouted, leaping across the serving dishes with his steak knife in hand.

He would never fully clear the over-cooked roast, however. The table began to buck under him, and the beams of his aging home groaned at the birthing strain of the forgotten deity, Kar’Wick. In the end, all would know the same fate, in the shadow of the Spider-God’s gnarled carapace.


Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.